Dead Zone – From a Distance

Dead Zone – From a Distance

JM: It’s been said about our environment, that all things are connected. But the idea really hits home when a farmer in the midwest learns that he’s impacting the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of miles away. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

DW: “The Mississippi River Basin is an extremely large watershed that stretches all the way from the Gulf of Mexico, up into Canada. This is a very, very productive area agriculturally and very important to both the economy and the food production in the United States.”

JM: Dr. Dave Whitall is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment. He says that one of the results of farming in the Mississippi River Basin is the large amount of fertilizer that leaches into the river. It ends up in the Gulf of Mexico, causing countless numbers of microscopic plants to bloom, die and use up the oxygen in the water. That, in turn, creates a vast tract of ocean that’s virtually devoid of life. They call it “The Dead Zone”. It’s got the attention of fishermen in Louisiana, but what about the farmers in the Midwest?

DW: “My experience with the agricultural community is that farmers are, in general, very concerned with environmental issue, because they know that their livelihood really depends on a healthy environment. Certainly, the fact that farmers in Minnesota are having an impact on something that’s thousands of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the upcoming challenges as we move forward to try to solve this problem. We’re talking about these watersheds that are thousands and thousands of square kilometers in size. Almost everything you do is gonna affect the dead zone if you live in the Mississippi Watershed. The food you eat is produced by agriculture. The car you drive produces emissions that are ultimately going to return to Earth that contain nitrogen that are going to enhance this problem. Every aspect of our life impacts the environment in some way, and it’s surprising to a lot of people.”

JM: Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Dead Zone - From a Distance

Farming practices in the mid-west have an impact on the environmental conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.
Air Date:11/20/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Dead Zone - From a Distance

JM: It's been said about our environment, that all things are connected. But the idea really hits home when a farmer in the midwest learns that he's impacting the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of miles away. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

DW: "The Mississippi River Basin is an extremely large watershed that stretches all the way from the Gulf of Mexico, up into Canada. This is a very, very productive area agriculturally and very important to both the economy and the food production in the United States."

JM: Dr. Dave Whitall is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment. He says that one of the results of farming in the Mississippi River Basin is the large amount of fertilizer that leaches into the river. It ends up in the Gulf of Mexico, causing countless numbers of microscopic plants to bloom, die and use up the oxygen in the water. That, in turn, creates a vast tract of ocean that's virtually devoid of life. They call it "The Dead Zone". It's got the attention of fishermen in Louisiana, but what about the farmers in the Midwest?

DW: "My experience with the agricultural community is that farmers are, in general, very concerned with environmental issue, because they know that their livelihood really depends on a healthy environment. Certainly, the fact that farmers in Minnesota are having an impact on something that's thousands of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the upcoming challenges as we move forward to try to solve this problem. We're talking about these watersheds that are thousands and thousands of square kilometers in size. Almost everything you do is gonna affect the dead zone if you live in the Mississippi Watershed. The food you eat is produced by agriculture. The car you drive produces emissions that are ultimately going to return to Earth that contain nitrogen that are going to enhance this problem. Every aspect of our life impacts the environment in some way, and it's surprising to a lot of people."

JM: Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.